|Publication number||US7304999 B2|
|Application number||US 10/227,119|
|Publication date||Dec 4, 2007|
|Filing date||Aug 24, 2002|
|Priority date||Aug 24, 2002|
|Also published as||US20040037322|
|Publication number||10227119, 227119, US 7304999 B2, US 7304999B2, US-B2-7304999, US7304999 B2, US7304999B2|
|Inventors||Vitaly Sukonik, Michael Laor, Michael B. Galles, Moshe Voloshin, William N. Eatherton, Rami Zemach, John H. W. Bettink|
|Original Assignee||Cisco Technology Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (31), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (24), Classifications (7), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention especially relates to communications and computer systems; and more particularly, the invention relates to processing of packets such as in a router, packet switching system, or other communications or computer system; more specifically, such processing may include distributing packets or subsets thereof to individual packet processors and gathering the processed packet or subsets and forwarding the resultant modified or otherwise processed packets.
The communications industry is rapidly changing to adjust to emerging technologies and ever increasing customer demand. This customer demand for new applications and increased performance of existing applications is driving communications network and system providers to employ networks and systems having greater speed and capacity (e.g., greater bandwidth). In trying to achieve these goals, a common approach taken by many communications providers is to use packet switching technology. Increasingly, public and private communications networks are being built and expanded using various packet technologies, such as Internet Protocol (IP).
A network device, such as a switch or router, typically receives, processes, and forwards or discards a packet based on one or more criteria, including the type of protocol used by the packet, addresses of the packet (e.g., source, destination, group), and type or quality of service requested. Additionally, one or more security operations are typically performed on each packet.
Known packet processes typically have architectures consisting of a pipeline with fixed stages of hardware resource blocks and micro-sequencers. The hardware resource blocks include functionality like parsing of packet headers based on register based configuration for packet classification and longest prefix match search. The micro-sequencers can do header modification based on results from resource blocks. This architecture strikes a balance between high performance (similar to levels of completely hardwired packet processors) and flexibility. There have been numerous tweaks made to the micro-code to support features not understood when the original ASICs were designed that would have required a re-spin if the micro-sequencers had not be included.
The primary difficulty with this architecture is that the pipeline architecture still assumes that the ordering of processing and resource accesses is mostly understood at the time of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design, and is fairly consistent across all applications. If new applications want to use resources (e.g., memories, lookup engines, or content-addressable memories) in new ways or want to more flexibly trade-off performance and features, the pipeline architecture is rigid. Additionally, the complexity of programming the pipelined engines greatly escalates with an increased number of processor stages. Also, the split packet processing functionality across the various stages of the pipelined architecture greatly constrains the packet processing capabilities. Needed are new methods and apparatus for processing packets.
Methods and apparatus are disclosed for processing packets in a router, packet switching system, or other communications or computer system. Such packet processing may include, for example, but is not limited to (nor all embodiments require) using a high performance massively parallel packet processing architecture, distributing packets or subsets thereof to individual packet processors and gathering the processed packet or subsets and forwarding the resultant modified or otherwise processed packets, accessing packet processing resources across a shared resource network, accessing packet processing resources using direct memory access techniques, and/or storing one overlapping portion of a packet in a global packet memory while providing a second overlapping portion to a packet processor.
In one embodiment, a packet belonging to one of multiple streams of packets is received. A next packet processor is determined based on a distribution pattern. A subset of bytes of the packet is distributed to the next packet processor. The subset of the packet is processed to generate a modified subset, which is gathered from the next packet processor in turn based on the distribution pattern; and a modified packet including the modified subset is forwarded. In one embodiment, a portion of the packet is placed in a global packet memory. In one embodiment, this portion and the processed subset of the packet include overlapping bytes of the packet. In one embodiment, the processing of the packet includes accessing one or more processing resources across a resource network shared by multiple packet processing engines. In one embodiment, the global packet memory is one of these resources. In one embodiment, these resources are accessed using direct memory access (DMA) techniques. In one embodiment, a packet processor can simultaneously have multiple DMA requests outstanding to the same or to different resources. In one embodiment, packet processing is performed using other methods and apparatus disclosed herein.
The appended claims set forth the features of the invention with particularity. The invention, together with its advantages, may be best understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:
Methods and apparatus are disclosed for processing packet, such as in a router, packet switching system, or other communications or computer component, device, or system. Embodiments described herein include various elements and limitations, with no one element or limitation contemplated as being a critical element or limitation. Each of the claims individually recites an aspect of the invention in its entirety. Moreover, some embodiments described may include, but are not limited to, inter alia, systems, networks, integrated circuit chips, embedded processors, ASICs, methods, and computer-readable medium containing instructions. The embodiments described hereinafter embody various aspects and configurations within the scope and spirit of the invention, with the figures illustrating exemplary and non-limiting configurations.
As used herein, the term “packet” refers to packets of all types or any other units of information or data, including, but not limited to, fixed length cells and variable length packets, each of which may or may not be divisible into smaller packets or cells. The term “packet” as used herein also refers to both the packet itself or a packet indication, such as, but not limited to all or part of a packet or packet header, a data structure value, pointer or index, or any other part or identification of a packet. Moreover, these packets may contain one or more types of information, including, but not limited to, voice, data, video, and audio information. The term “item” is used herein to refer to a packet or any other unit or piece of information or data. The phrases “processing a packet” and “packet processing” typically refer to performing some steps or actions based on the packet, and which may or may not include modifying and/or forwarding the packet.
The term “system” is used generically herein to describe any number of components, elements, sub-systems, devices, packet switch elements, packet switches, routers, networks, computer and/or communication devices or mechanisms, or combinations of components thereof. The term “computer” is used generically herein to describe any number of computers, including, but not limited to personal computers, embedded processing elements and systems, control logic, ASICs, chips, workstations, mainframes, etc. The term “processing element” is used generically herein to describe any type of processing mechanism or device, such as a processor, ASIC, field programmable gate array, computer, etc. The term “device” is used generically herein to describe any type of mechanism, including a computer or system or component thereof. The terms “task” and “process” are used generically herein to describe any type of running program, including, but not limited to a computer process, task, thread, executing application, operating system, user process, device driver, native code, machine or other language, etc., and can be interactive and/or non-interactive, executing locally and/or remotely, executing in foreground and/or background, executing in the user and/or operating system address spaces, a routine of a library and/or standalone application, and is not limited to any particular memory partitioning technique. The steps, connections, and processing of signals and information illustrated in the figures, including, but not limited to any block and flow diagrams and message sequence charts, may be performed in the same or in a different serial or parallel ordering and/or by different components and/or processes, threads, etc., and/or over different connections and be combined with other functions in other embodiments in keeping within the scope and spirit of the invention.
Moreover, the terms “network” and “communications mechanism” are used generically herein to describe one or more networks, communications mediums or communications systems, including, but not limited to the Internet, private or public telephone, cellular, wireless, satellite, cable, local area, metropolitan area and/or wide area networks, a cable, electrical connection, bus, etc., and internal communications mechanisms such as message passing, interprocess communications, shared memory, etc.
The term “storage mechanism” includes any type of memory, storage device or other mechanism for maintaining instructions or data in any format. “Computer-readable medium” is an extensible term including any memory, storage device, storage mechanism, and other storage and signaling mechanisms including interfaces and devices such as network interface cards and buffers therein, as well as any communications devices and signals received and transmitted, and other current and evolving technologies that a computerized system can interpret, receive, and/or transmit. The term “memory” includes any random access memory (RAM), read only memory (ROM), flash memory, integrated circuits, and/or other memory components or elements. The term “storage device” includes any solid state storage media, disk drives, diskettes, networked services, tape drives, and other storage devices. Memories and storage devices may store computer-executable instructions to be executed by a processing element and/or control logic, and data which is manipulated by a processing element and/or control logic. The term “data structure” is an extensible term referring to any data element, variable, data structure, data base, and/or one or more or an organizational schemes that can be applied to data to facilitate interpreting the data or performing operations on it, such as, but not limited to memory locations or devices, sets, queues, trees, heaps, lists, linked lists, arrays, tables, pointers, etc. A data structure is typically maintained in a storage mechanism. The terms “pointer” and “link” are used generically herein to identify some mechanism for referencing or identifying another element, component, or other entity, and these may include, but are not limited to a reference to a memory or other storage mechanism or location therein, an index in a data structure, a value, etc. The term “associative memory” refers to all types of known or future developed associative memories, including, but not limited to binary and ternary content-addressable memories, hash tables, TRIE and other data structures, etc.
The term “one embodiment” is used herein to reference a particular embodiment, wherein each reference to “one embodiment” may refer to a different embodiment, and the use of the term repeatedly herein in describing associated features, elements and/or limitations does not establish a cumulative set of associated features, elements and/or limitations that each and every embodiment must include, although an embodiment typically may include all these features, elements and/or limitations. In addition, the phrase “means for xxx” typically includes computer-readable medium containing computer-executable instructions for performing xxx.
In addition, the terms “first,” “second,” etc. are typically used herein to denote different units (e.g., a first element, a second element). The use of these terms herein does not necessarily connote an ordering such as one unit or event occurring or coming before the another, but rather provides a mechanism to distinguish between particular units. Additionally, the use of a singular tense of a noun is non-limiting, with its use typically including one or more of the particular item rather than just one (e.g., the use of the word “memory” typically refers to one or more memories without having to specify “memory or memories,” or “one or more memories” or “at least one memory”, etc.) Moreover, the phrases “based on x” and “in response to x” are used to indicate a minimum set of items x from which something is derived or caused, wherein “x” is extensible and does not necessarily describe a complete list of items on which the operation is performed, etc. Additionally, the phrase “coupled to” is used to indicate some level of direct or indirect connection between two elements or devices, with the coupling device or devices modify or not modifying the coupled signal or communicated information. The term “subset” is used to indicate a group of all or less than all of the elements of a set. Moreover, the term “or” is used herein to identify a selection of one or more, including all, of the conjunctive items.
Methods and apparatus are disclosed for processing packets in a router, packet switching system, or other communications or computer system. Such packet processing may include, for example, but is not limited to using a high performance massively parallel packet processing architecture, distributing packets or subsets thereof to individual packet processors and gathering the processed packet or subsets and forwarding the resultant modified or otherwise processed packets, accessing packet processing resources across a shared resource network, accessing packet processing resources using direct memory access techniques, and/or storing one overlapping portion of a packet in a global packet memory while providing a second overlapping portion to a packet processor.
In one embodiment, a packet belonging to one of multiple streams of packets is received. A next packet processor is determined based on a distribution pattern. A subset of bytes of the packet is distributed to the next packet processor. The subset of the packet is processed to generate a modified subset, which is gathered from the next packet processor in turn based on the distribution pattern; and a modified packet including the modified subset is forwarded. In one embodiment, the state of the processing is checked prior to gathering from a packet processing element. In one embodiment, the processing of a subset continues after it is gathered, such as in the case of a multicast packet, packet fragmentation, wiretapping or snooping (e.g., routing a copy to another location). In one embodiment, a packet processing element is skipped during a current gathering round. In one embodiment, whether to skip is determined based on an indication provided by the packet processing element. In one embodiment, the same number of skip operations are performed in the gathering of all packets belonging to a particular stream of packets. In one embodiment, a packet to be forwarded is derived from a gathered modified subset of a packet and a subset of the packet stored in a global packet memory. In one embodiment, the subset of the packet manipulated by a packet processing engine and the subset stored in a global packet memory contain overlapping portions of the original packet.
In one embodiment, the processing of the packet includes accessing one or more processing resources across a resource network shared by multiple packet processing engines. In one embodiment, the global packet memory is one of these resources. In one embodiment, these resources are accessed using direct memory access (DMA) techniques. In one embodiment, a packet processor can simultaneously have multiple DMA requests outstanding to the same or to different resources. In one embodiment, a descriptor used in a prior DMA request is modified and then used in a second DMA request.
In one embodiment, component 120 includes a processor 121, memory 122, storage devices 123, and an external interface 124 for receiving and sending packets and other information, which are typically coupled via one or more communications mechanisms 129 (shown as a bus for illustrative purposes.) Various embodiments of component 120 may include more or less elements. The operation of component 120 is typically controlled by processor 121 using memory 122 and storage devices 123 to perform one or more scheduling tasks or processes. Memory 122 is one type of computer-readable medium, and typically comprises random access memory (RAM), read only memory (ROM), flash memory, integrated circuits, and/or other memory components. Memory 122 typically stores computer-executable instructions to be executed by processor 121 and/or data which is manipulated by processor 121 for implementing functionality in accordance with the invention. Storage devices 123 are another type of computer-readable medium, and typically comprise solid state storage media, disk drives, diskettes, networked services, tape drives, and other storage devices. Storage devices 123 typically store computer-executable instructions to be executed by processor 121 and/or data which is manipulated by processor 121 for implementing functionality in accordance with the invention.
A second subset of bytes of a received packet is forwarded to a distributor 220. The second subset includes the information contained in the received packet that is typically required for processing of the packet. In one embodiment, the first and second subset of bytes include overlapping portions of the received packet, which may be advantageous as a packet processing engine can overwrite a determined non-needed portion of the second subset of bytes, or deallocate a corresponding portion of memory. In one embodiment, this overlapping portion of bytes includes bytes which are not modified during packet processing, but their contents may be required for such processing. Thus, the packet processing engine may not need to forward any of the overlapping portion as during a gather phase these bytes will be included from the first subset when the modified packet is assembled during a gather and forwarding process.
Distributor 220 distributes a first subset of the packet to a next available packet processing engine 225 based on a deterministic or random distribution pattern. In one embodiment, a round-robin distribution pattern is used. In one embodiment using a random distribution pattern, a distribution order is tracked for use by a gathering element so that packet order is maintained, at least for packets belonging to a same stream. In one embodiment, a packet processing engine 225 may indicate a skip operation to distributor 220, so that the particular packet processing engine 225 is passed over during a current distribution round. In one embodiment, all packets belonging to a same packet stream cause each packet processing engine delivered one of these packets to generate the same number of skip operations to maintain the original order of the packets. In one embodiment, the original order is not maintained by the packet processor. In one embodiment, distributor 220 will wait, if necessary, for an identified next packet processing engine 225 to become ready before distributing it a packet or before moving on to a next packet processing engine 225.
As shown, packet processing engines 225 are connected via resource fabric 230 to a plurality of resources 235. In one embodiment, global packet buffer 239 is one of these resources 235. In one embodiment, resources 235 may include, inter alia, a resource routing unit, a policer, an associative memory, a traffic engineer, a statistics collector, and/or an authorization unit, etc. For example, a next hop address may be determined and returned to the requesting packet processing engine 225. In one embodiment, resources 235 are accessed by a packet processing engine using direct memory access (DMA) techniques.
After processing is completed, a modified second subset of a received packet is retrieved/received by egress packet header buffer 228, typically in a gathering pattern based on the distribution pattern, and is forwarded to output interface circuitry 240. The remaining portion of the original packet is retrieved/received from global packet buffer 239. Output interface circuitry 240 assembles and forwards the modified packet 245 to a next component or system. In one embodiment, a packet processing engine 225 may or may not become available to process a next packet, as it may continue to process its current data to generate an additional one or more packets, such as required by a multicast or snoop operation, or to perform some additional processing such a required by certain statistics operations.
Modified second subsets of bytes of received packets are gathered from clusters 315A-315N by packet header gather 330, and are forwarded to packet head output FIFO 335. Modified packets 349 are sent from packet head output FIFO 340 after being assembled based on the first subset of bytes received from global packet buffer shared resource 310 and on the modified subset of bytes received from packet head output FIFO 335.
Next, as determined in process block 612, if a resource needs to be accessed, then as determined in process block 614, if a direct memory access (DMA) descriptor shell already exists, then in process block 616, the pertinent (e.g., remaining, different, etc.) fields of the descriptor are filled; otherwise, in process block 618, the DMA descriptor is build in memory. In process block 620, a DMA request is generated. Processing returns to process block 612 to possibly send out more DMA requests. Note, multiple DMA requests can be outstanding at a same time.
Otherwise, processing proceeds to process block 622 to optionally wait for some results from a DMA request or to receive some other data needed for processing. Then, in process block 624, the packet is manipulated and/or modified as required for the processing to be performed on the packet or subset thereof. In one embodiment, a portion of the subset of the packet being manipulated and/or modified may be overwritten during this process. Next, as determined in process block 626, if there are more results expected, then processing returns to process block 622. Otherwise, in process block 628, the packet processing engine indicates that processing is complete and no skip operation is set. In process block 630, the modified packet or subset thereof is provided to the gatherer upon request or at the appropriate time. As determined in process block 632, if all processing is completed and a new packet or subset thereof is ready to be received, then processing returns to process block 602. Otherwise, in process block 634, the packet processing engine indicates that processing is not complete, and processing returns to process block 608.
In view of the many possible embodiments to which the principles of our invention may be applied, it will be appreciated that the embodiments and aspects thereof described herein with respect to the drawings/figures are only illustrative and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention. For example and as would be apparent to one skilled in the art, many of the process block operations can be re-ordered to be performed before, after, or substantially concurrent with other operations. Also, many different forms of data structures could be used in various embodiments. The invention as described herein contemplates all such embodiments as may come within the scope of the following claims and equivalents thereof.
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|U.S. Classification||370/396, 370/412|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L49/3072, H04L49/103|
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|Aug 24, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CISCO TECHNOLOGY, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SUKONIK, VITALY;LAOR, MICHAEL;GALLES, MICHAEL B.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013241/0940;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020801 TO 20020806
|Nov 3, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jun 6, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jun 4, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8